This is an excerpt from Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief by Allen Klein, available on Amazon at

I measure every Grief I meet

With narrow, probing, Eyes—

I wonder if It weighs like Mine— Or has an Easier size.

—Emily Dickinson, American poet

Sometimes the biggest obstacle in getting through a loss is not the loss itself, but our notion of how we should react to it. We feel that we should be sad; we should feel remorse; we should be upset. In truth, there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss, nor how long the mourning period should last, nor what stages of the grieving process we will or will not experience.

Some people think that grief lasts a year. They wonder why they are still grieving after that time. Grief has its own timetable. Just as one person is totally different from another, so too is one person’s grieving process different from anyone else’s.

The same is true of the intensity of grief. Some people experience a loss and move on shortly afterward. For others, it takes a much longer time.

And, even though such things as anger, depression, guilt, numbness, being overwhelmed, and shock are part of grief, you may experience all of them, some of them, or none of them.

Try not to compare your grief to someone else’s. You are unique.

So is your grief.


Allen Klein

Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.” Through his books and presentations, Klein shows people worldwide how to use humor to deal with everything from traffic jams to tragedies. Klein got into this unusual line of work after his wife died of a rare liver disease at the age of 34. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope. He also saw how humor helped him get through that loss. He now teaches others how to find some in trying times. Those audiences include people in 48 states as well as Israel and Australia, and clients from IBM to the IRS. Klein is the immediate past-president of The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, an international organization with nearly 600 members whose purpose is to advance the understanding and application of humor and laughter for their positive benefits. Klein is also an award-winning speaker and best-selling author as well as the recipient of a Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Award and a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. He is also a 2007 inductee into New York City's Hunter College Hall of Fame Klein's first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now in a 36th printing and ninth foreign language translation. It shows readers how to use humor to deal with everyday trials and tribulations. His second book, The Courage to Laugh: Humor, Hope, and Healing in the Face of Death and Dying, documents how people have used humor to triumph over tragedy. And his most recent book, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying, shows readers how to embrace life fully again after a loss. It incorporates the five steps of going from loss to laughter: Losing, Learning, Letting Go, Living, and Laughing. He has also authored fourteen other books, including Change Your Life!: A Little Book of Big Ideas, Inspiration for a Lifetime, and, L.A.U.G.H.: Using humor and Laughter to Help Clients Cope. And his writing has appeared in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Klein has a master’s degree in humor (from St. Mary's College in Minnesota—and that's no joke!) And he is well suited to his subject. Years before becoming a “Jollytologist”, Klein was nicknamed the “King of Whimsy” because he designed all the children shows at CBS television in New York City. Among those productions was one you probably remember—the Captain Kangaroo show. Although no longer working in the light-hearted world of children, Klein still believes that adults need to take a lesson from them and lighten up.

More Articles Written by Allen